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Hydrogen Fuel Production and Power Plant Proposed for California

Hydrogen Energy International LLC, a joint venture of BP Alternative Energy and Rio Tinto, announced filing of an AFC (Application for Certification) before the California Energy Commission, for a proposed hydrogen fuel production facility and power plant in Kern County, California. The filing initiates a comprehensive regulatory review process and, upon approval, grants permission for the construction of the nation’s first industrial-scale low-carbon power plant with carbon capture and sequestration.

The proposed facility will use Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology to manufacture hydrogen from petroleum coke (a by-product of the refining process) or blends of petroleum coke and coal, as needed. The hydrogen will be used to generate nearly 400 gross megawatts of base-load low-carbon electricity -- enough to power 150,000 homes in the region. Over 2 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) is expected to be captured and stored in deep underground geological formations annually, giving the facility minimal CO2.

“While we had planned to site the project in Carson, we have concluded that the project will become a reality much faster by locating it in close proximity to Occidental’s nearby Elk Hills operations where the CO2 can be injected and stored,” said Jonathan Briggs, Regional Director of Hydrogen Energy in North America. “Hydrogen Energy provides electricity generators with a low carbon fuel option that can contribute enormously to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Occidental Petroleum hopes to use the CO2 for enhanced oil recovery in the Elk Hills oil field. “Recovering more oil from existing fields is an excellent way we can increase our domestic production and enhance the energy security of the United States,” said Dr. Ray R. Irani, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation. “Occidental sees both environmental and production benefits from the use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery and in the underground sequestering of the CO2 as a way to control greenhouse gas emissions.”

Hydrogen Energy is siting this new facility in California because of the State’s leadership role in requiring greenhouse gas emission reductions in policy initiatives supported by the Governor, Legislature, and energy regulatory agencies, including the California Public Utilities Commission and the California Air Resources Board. Additionally, Hydrogen Energy sees Kern County as an ideal location because of the many oil fields that can provide ideal storage conditions for CO2 thus ensuring environmental benefits, as well as providing the opportunity for enhanced oil recovery, thus producing additional economic benefits.

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